A visit to temples in India will transport you back to ancient eras, introducing you to the design and architectural styles that represent India’s art as well as culture. India is characterized by various religions, dialects, languages, customs and traditions that paint myriad colours of India for visitors who flock in from all over the world. India lives true to its name and is indeed, ‘Incredible India’. The Indian subcontinent is home to some of the most beautiful temples that are spread out all over the country, most of the temples in India also have famous histories that you can learn about when you visit them.
8 Most Beautiful Temples in India that you must visit:
1) Meenakshi temple
The Meenakshi Temple is located in the heart of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and to Goddess Parvati, also known as Meenakshi. When you visit the Meenakshi Temple, make sure you take a dip in the Golden Lotus kund (tank) before you visit the main shrine. Legend has it that the pond was created by Lord Shiva and so, is even older than the temple. The Minakshi Temple in India is one of the most beautiful temples in Tamil Nadu and has a hall consisting of 985 pillars, each of which is intricately carved out, displaying the traditional Indian artistic styles.
Where? Madurai Main, Madurai, Tamil Nadu- 625001.
2) Khajurao temple
The Khajuraho town is located in Madhya Pradesh and is famous for being home to groups of Hindu and Jain temples in India. A UNESCO World Heritage Site in India, the Khajuraho monument makes for the perfect place to visit for history buffs and for admirers of art. Beautifully carved temples and detailed erotic sculptures are what you will get to see when you visit Khajuraho. It is believed that there were about 75 temples in the area but only 20 are left of those.
The Khajurao temples are divided into the eastern, western and southern zones, with the western zone comprising the largest temple of Khajuraho and the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple. If you happen to visit Khajuraho around the first week of February, you can also attend the annual Khajuraho Dance Festival that celebrates the different dance forms of India by hosting regional performances by professional dancers.
Where? Eastern Group of Temples, Sevagram, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh- 471606.
3) Kedarnath Temple
The Kedarnath Temple is seated in the Himalayan range of Uttarakhand and is one of the holiest Shiva temples in the world. Legend has it that the Kedarnath temple was built by the Pandavas to make up for their sins that were committed during their battle with the Kauravas. Interestingly, the Kedarnath temple is known as one of the Chota Char Dhams of Uttarakhand and pilgrims have to walk about 14 kilometres over hilly terrain to reach the main temple.
The Kedarnath temple is one of the most beautiful Indian temples, surrounded by snow-clad mountains at a height of 3,583 metres. The temple remains closed during the winter months due to severe weather conditions and the Lord Shiva idol is also shifted to Ukhimath during these harsh winter months.
Where? Kedarnath, Uttarakhand- 246445.
4) Sanchi Stupa
Sanchi, a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Raisen district is home to various Buddhist structures that were built between the 3rd century BC to 12th century AD, resulting in myriad design structures that represent each era. One of the main Buddhist temples is the Sanchi Stupa, also known as the Great Stupa, built in a dome shape that consists of the remains of Buddha.
The Sanchi Stupa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built in the 3rd century BC by Asoka, the great emperor. The Stupa is 16 metres tall and about 37 metres in diameter, has four gateways, known as Toranas that surround the Stupa. Each of these gateways symbolizes the emotions of peace, love, trust and courage.
Where? Sanchi town, Raisen district, Madhya Pradesh.
5) Golden Temple
The Golden Temple exudes vibes of tranquillity and was built on the values of equality and brotherhood. Even though it is primarily a Hindu temple, the Golden Temple keeps its doors open to people from any faith and races. Langars (feasts) are organized at the Golden Temple every day where people are offered food irrespective of their religious beliefs or caste. The food served at langars is supposed to be the tastiest and most nutritious food you will eat.
Where? Golden Temple Rd, Atta Mandi, Katra Ahluwalia, Amritsar, Punjab- 143006.
Header Image Courtesy: Andre Rodrigues
6) Kashi Vishwanath
The Kashi Vishwanath temple located in the Vishwanath Galli of Varanasi is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India, which is considered a holy manifestation of Lord Shiva. You might have heard of or read about the Kashi temple as this is one of most famous Hindu temples and have been written about, in Hindu scriptures, as well. While you’re here, you could have a look at the things to do in Varanasi.
Where? Lahori Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh- 221001.
7) Durga Kund Temple
A fiery red temple, the Durga temple has a very beautiful past. It is believed that the idol of Goddess Durga at the temple was not built or constructed but had appeared at the temple on its own. Dedicated to Maa Durga, the Durga temple was built by a Bengali Maharani (queen) in the 18th century. Widely known as The Durga Kund Mandir in Varanasi, this temple is called so because it is built on a rectangular kund (tank) which is called Goddess Durga’s Kund.
This temple in India is also a frequent spot for monkeys and so, has often been regarded as the Monkey Temple of Varanasi. As per the Puranas, Goddess Durga has been in Varanasi for centuries and continues to be the protective force overlooking this holy city of India. If you visit Varanasi around Navratri (a nine-day festival), you will see herds of locals flocking to the Durga Temple to seek blessings from Maa Durga. Here are some places to visit in Varanasi.
Where? 27, Durgakund Rd, Anandbagh, Bhelupur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh- 221005.
8) Surya Mandir
Surya Mandir is one temple that does not make it to tourist itineraries and that is exactly why you should be heading here. Located at a distance of about 2.5 kilometres from the centre of Jaipur, this mandir (temple) is a part of the greater Galta Ji temple which is also known as the monkey temple. Reaching the temple takes about a 15 mins. walk from Surajpol Bazaar.
Visit the Galta Ji temple first and then head to Surya Mandir to get a beautiful panoramic view of Jaipur as the sun paints the city in shades of orange at sunset.
Where? Galta Gate, Lal Dungri, Jaipur, Rajasthan- 302003.
Let me know which of these temples in India have you visited? Which of these temples in India do you find the most beautiful? Have another favorite? Let me know in the comments section below!